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Summit One Vanderbilt or Empire State Building


Summit One Vanderbilt and the Empire State Building are the most visited and extremely popular observatories.

Both of these Manhattan’s pearls are tough competitors when it comes to winning the title of the “Best observation deck in NYC.” 

The scenic views, immersive exhibits, and enriching experience you draw here are truly impressive.

Thinking which is better – Summit One Vanderbilt or the Empire State Building?

In this article, we will compare Summit One Vanderbilt and the Empire State Building on several parameters that will help you arrive at the best conclusion.

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Comparison of Summit One Vanderbilt and Empire State Building 

Here is the comparison of Summit One Vanderbilt and the Empire State Building with respect to their height, experience, view, duration of stay, and many more. 

Height of the observation deck

The Empire State Building stands 1454 feet high and has two observation decks, one on the 86th and the second on the 102nd floor.

The Summit One Vanderbilt observation deck is 1401 feet high, featuring amazing observation decks, galleries, and elevators across three floors.

Experience on the deck

At the Empire State Building, guests will be transported to the observation deck on the 86th floor (almost 1050 feet high) via the Otis elevator within a few seconds. 

On this main deck, you can see the hustle and bustle of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Delaware.

From here, you further go up in a glass elevator to the 102nd floor (1250 feet high), featuring an enclosed observation deck. 

There is also a narrow and vertigo-inducing observation deck with a knee-high parapet on the 103rd floor with limited access to only VIP guests. 

The Summit, One Vanderbilt experience, is beyond words as you not just gaze at the city view from the observation decks but also see the beautiful play of art and technology.

The silver orbs in Affinity, Clouds installations in Reflect, the elevator ride in Ascent, and photo opportunities in Levitation Skybox create an enthralling and enriching experience. 

At every level, you find something new and interesting.

View from the observation deck 

The view from both observation decks is truly stunning!

From the Empire State Building, you get a panoramic view of cities and sites up to 80 miles away. 

You can see many iconic buildings, from the Statue of Liberty and Rockefeller Center to Central Park, Times Square, One World Trade Center, and the Chrysler Building. 

You can see similar sites from One Summit Vanderbilt, including the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, the United Nations Building, One World Observatory, and Central Park.

Summit One Vanderbilt at night transforms into a mesmerizing sanctuary amidst the city lights, showcasing the breathtaking charm of New York.

Cost of tickets

Summit One Vanderbilt tickets for visitors aged 13 and above cost US$52 in the first 15 days of the month, whereas they cost US$57 in the last half of the month.

Children between six and 12 years can get the tickets for US$46 in the first half of the month, whereas they are available for US$50 in the last 15 days of the month.

Empire State Building’s entry tickets tend to be cheaper than Summit One Vanderbilt’s entry tickets. 

At ESB, an adult ticket for visitors aged 13 to 61 years costs between US$48 to US$51, depending on the date of your visit.

Children’s tickets are available for prices between US$42 to US$45. 

Senior citizens aged 62 and above can get tickets for prices between US$46 to US$49.

An Express Ticket for Empire State Building costs US$91 for all guests above six years. 

Kids under six years of age can enter for free at both attractions.

Visit the top five attractions of New York and Summit One Vanderbilt with New York CityPass, which is time-saving and value for money.

Dining options available

On the 93rd floor of Summit One Vanderbilt, there is a Restrobar called Aprés. 

It has an outdoor terrace where visitors can stand and enjoy their drinks or nibbles. 

The 86th and 102nd floors of the Empire State Building do not have restaurants or food and beverage kiosks. 

However, on the main concourse at the lobby level, numerous food options are available.

Learn more about Restaurants in Summit One Vanderbilt and Restaurants near Summit One Vanderbilt.

Duration of stay

The Empire State Building takes an hour and a half to cover both observation decks. 

Summit can take a little longer, say two to three hours, due to the crowds and activities such as entering the Levitation skybox, touring the Reflect and Unity rooms, etc.

Our recommendation

If you just wish to enjoy the NY skyline from the top and get an immersive experience, consider visiting Summit One Vanderbilt. 

The Summit ranks high in terms of its magnificent architecture, brilliant use of technology, and design of elevators and observation decks.

Plus, the amenities like restaurants and gift shops make Summit much more accessible than the ESB. 

But you can choose the Empire State Building for the traditional, historical experience. 

In addition to the observatories on the 86th and 102nd floors, the attraction features a wide variety of historical artifacts regarding the structure. 

Also, while the Summit is open till 12 midnight, the ESB is open to the public till 1 am, allowing you to stay for a longer time. 

However, whichever observatory you decide to go to, make sure you book tickets online and in advance for a much more relaxed experience. 

Recommended Reading
Is Summit One Vanderbilt worth it?
Summit One Vanderbilt vs The Edge
Summit One Vanderbilt or One World Observatory
Summit One Vanderbilt or Top of the Rock

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This article was researched & written by

Edited by Rekha Rajan & fact checked by Jamshed V Rajan

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